More Corset Questions and Troubleshooting

Corsets can be a much more complex issue than they first seem, and to prove that I’ve written another article of questions people may have. This time I’m focusing on questions likely to be asked by those who have already made the decision to get into serious corset-wearing.

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1. How can I lace up by myself?
Basically you pull the puller loops until you feel sudden resistance, then work the Xs in the laces from top to middle and bottom to middle. Then pull the puller loops again and tie off into a bow. For some people this is a bit difficult, and really it’s just an issue of dexterity and practice. You just have to keep at it. What many tightlacers do to help however is to hook the laces onto a hook or doorknob and walk forward to keep the tension as they work the laces. Shorter corsets with fewer grommets are more prone to slipping open as soon as you let go, so this helps especially in this case.

2. How can I hide the bottom ridge under clothes?
Besides making sure the corset is custom and so fits you perfectly, the easiest thing you can do here is to wear your underwear over the corset, which also makes it much easier to go to the bathroom. But sometimes this isn’t enough. Spanx are great, as are light girdles and garter belts. I’ve also found that folding a liner over and wearing it around the hips is very comfortable and effective. But while this will improve the situation, it’s very hard to solve it completely. You’ll have to expect that to a certain extent your bottom ridge will often show.

3. How can I keep my lacing guard from bunching up when I put my corset on?
I feel you there, it’s really hard. Boned guards are best, but another thing I did try that worked like a charm was to put the guard (provided it’s separate from the corset and UNboned, for washing) under the liner. This helps to hold it in place, and provides a smooth surface for the back edges to slide over.

4. Is custom really necessary?
This depends on how tight you’re trying to go. For a reduction of 4 inches or less, it’s generally not, unless you are taller or shorter than average, and/or otherwise vary a fair bit from standard proportions. Once you go smaller than the four inches a standard corset offers, your proportions will be too extreme for this and you will need to buy custom, or made to measure at the very least. Buying a smaller standard corset won’t be good enough, as I learned the hard way, because the hip and rib measurements are just as important as the waist. If the top and bottom of your corset are too small to close, the waist won’t close either and you’ll have wasted your money. Also, the smaller you go the more comfort will be an issue, and eventually even a small seam or wrinkle in your clothing underneath can be very painful. Custom is definitely the best way to make sure that you get the comfort you need.

5. How often do I have to wear my corset? Do I really have to sleep in it?
Again, this depends on how small you want to go. The smaller you go, the more you’ll have to wear it. If you just want 2-3 inches to enhance your shape on a night out, then you won’t need to wear it any more than that. To get anything smaller than what you get upon first putting it on, you’ll need to wear it more, though you’ll have to slowly ramp the time up while your body adjusts so you can stay comfortable. In my own experience, 8-12 hours a day is sufficient for anything up to 6 or 7 inches, and 23 hours a day, including sleeping, will be necessary for any reduction smaller than that, keeping in mind that everybody’s different. Although once you get used to your corset you may find that you’re actually more comfortable wearing it than not, so in this case there’s nothing wrong with wearing it all the time, even if you have very modest goals.

Waist

6. What would you recommend for a first corset?
You need to start as basic as possible, because if you only have one, you’ll need to be able to wear it with everything. I tell everyone that the ideal first corset is a plain black underbust. No matter how many corsets you may one day own, this one will always be your most important one, your corset LBD. Underbusts are much more comfortable and give you more ease of movement than overbusts, and they’re more discreet under clothes. Over clothes, the style and color can be worn with everything. The only exception I would say is if you plan on wearing it exclusively under your clothes, then nude or champagne would be a good substitute, particularly if your clothes are light. With your further purchases you can get gradually more fancy.

7. What is a corset liner?
Unfortunately what many people don’t realize is that you always need to wear something under your corset. I can’t stress enough how important it is. Corsets can’t be washed, or the steel will rust and the whole thing could warp. Wearing something underneath keeps it clean. It also protects your skin from chaffing, and reduces friction when lacing. A corset liner comes in when you want to wear your corset under your clothes, and/or when you’re reducing enough that any creases in the fabric underneath would cause pain. For comfort’s sake you need to keep whatever’s against your skin as smooth as possible. Corset liners are made of spandex, so they’re smooth and stretchy, and they’re made to your corseted proportions, so there won’t be any creasing to dig into your skin. I never realized what a difference they could make until I got a few myself, so I strongly recommend them for anyone who wears a corset more than once a week. You can get them many places custom corsets are sold, or if you’re handy with sewing you can fairly easily make your own. Heavenly Corsets even offers a set that includes 4 liners with your corset purchase.

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8. Help, my skin is really itchy!
This happens when you wear your corset tighter and more often, as this can cause your skin to dry out. Make sure to apply lots of lotion before you put it on, and powder your skin with cornstarch (many websites will tell you to use talc, however this is a possible carcinogenic). When you itch, don’t try to scratch through the corset, or you could damage the fabric. Just take it off, scratch if you need to, apply more lotion, and put on a clean liner.

9. Are you supposed to wear it with the back closed, or with a space?
This is a bit of a debate, and I’ve heard both sides of the issue. Most tightlacers say closed is definitely best, as it makes the corset much more solid. Others like the springiness in a corset with a gap, and argue that it leaves your spine free of any pressure from the steels. I can relate to both sides.

10. Can a corset help me lose weight?
A corset in itself will not cause you to lose weight, but yes it can be a helpful tool in conjunction with proper diet and exercise. The most immediate effect is a few inches off your waist and a smoothed torso, and the confidence this brings, which is very motivating. Further it acts like an external lap band, making you feel full faster. And because your digestive tract will be pushed upwards, you’ll have less tolerance for greasy, gassy foods, and foods that are hard to digest.

11. What waist size should I try to achieve as a tightlacer?
There are many different methods of determining what a good waist size is, but the biggest thing to stress here is that proportion is infinitely more important than the number. A 20 inch waist could look freakish and shocking on one girl, and completely forgettable on another. Some people use charts (See below), some decide on a percentage of their hip measurements for a desirable waist-hip ratio, and others try to match up with the measurement of their upper thigh. In the end, only you will know what’s right for you.

This image doesn’t really fit on the page, and there’s always more to it. Click to see more.

12. How should a corset be laced?
One thing I always look for when browsing corset sites is how they are laced. A corset should NOT be laced like a shoe, with the laces passing between the back panels. This prevents the corset from closing completely and causes unnecessary friction. Instead what you should see is a row of Xs, completely under, completely over, so that when the corset is closed you see nothing but the ones on top. And the laces should NEVER, EVER be tied at the bottom or top of a corset. You are trying to draw in the waist, not the hips! I find it hard to take any corset laced this way at all seriously.

One of my own corsets, displaying the reverse bunny ears technique. It's great for keeping tension at the waist.

This is right. One of my own corsets, displaying the reverse bunny ears technique. It’s great for keeping tension at the waist.

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How a properly laced corset looks when closed, showing rows of Xs.

13. What’s the proper way of measuring your corseted waist?
There has been some debate about this as well. The true waist measurement is the one taken under the corset, but figuring this out can be hard to achieve, and is definitely not the measurement on display, so it’s more of a personal goal. The measurement taken over the corset includes a good deal of bulk from the garment itself, but is the one that best represents your appearance. So what is there to do? My preferred method is taking the waist measurement of the corset itself and adding the number of inches you have left in the gap, if any. It’s simple, and a good middle ground. Either way, just make sure you’re telling the truth. We can tell when you’re lying 😉

Did I miss anything? Tell me in the comments!

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80 comments on “More Corset Questions and Troubleshooting

  1. angela says:

    What happens if I been wearing a corset everyday for a year and then stop wearing it. Will my waist expand again.

    • Ava Strange says:

      Yes, your waist will expand very quickly. If you are an extreme tightlacer with around 10+ inches of reduction it may stay about 2 inches smaller, but in most cases it’s back to normal as soon as you eat something. Depending on how long you stop though you will still be able to lace as small as you did. Lately I’ve been wearing mine once a week at MOST and I’ve probably lost all of half an inch reduction.

  2. Harley says:

    How can I hide the laces?

    • Ava Strange says:

      That’s a great question! There’s no perfect way to do it unless you’re wearing a full skirt that sits at the natural waist, in which case they just sit underneath. I usually just let them dangle under my clothes as long as they’re not too long. They show a bit, but it’s really quite subtle. What many people will do is keep them a little shorter (There used to be a corset lace calculator online to tell you what length you need but sadly it seems to have been removed), and tuck them in to the top or bottom at the gap so they make a nice tight little package, though some may find this slightly uncomfortable. I think this is best. It’s tempting to wrap the laces around your waist, and I will admit I absolutely have done this, but try to resist as the friction on the waist can begin to break down the fabric, and it could add about an inch to the waist line which then goes against all your hard work! I hope this helps!

  3. Andri says:

    Whenever I lace my corset, no matter how tight, the top of it won’t close and has planty of room for me to move around in. Even if I lace it as tight as it can go and the rest of the corset fits tightly aorund my torso the top right underneath my bust is very loose. How do I fix that and what is it?

    • Ava Strange says:

      It sounds like your corset fits everywhere except for the top, which is probably too big. Everyone’s proportions are different so this is very common with either off the rack corsets or those that weren’t quite measured right. A made to order or custom corset should solve it easily. As for the one you have, if it’s indeed too big if I’m understanding you right you can tailor it. To know for sure, measure just under your bust and compare it to the measurement around the top of the corset. If it’s too big you can have a good tailor sew darts into the top to take it in, and sew the excess fabric flat against the *outside* of the corset, not the inside or it will hurt. Make sure none of the fabric is cut either, because you don’t want to compromise its strength. Let me know if it all works out!

  4. Kristie says:

    I have been wearing my corset for nearly two weeks now, I thought for while I get started I’ll get one just off the hanger and I love it! I pretty much wear it 23/7 I’m down from a natural 34″ to 31″ when I’m corseted. The main problem I have is my back fat! I’m trying to loose weight but want to do it gradually rather then too fast. But I was wondering, is it just that mine isn’t made to measure or is it I’ll have this until I loose weight? xx

    • Ava Strange says:

      It definitely sounds like the top measurement of your corset is too small. This affects the whole fit and shape, as proportion is even more important than size. If the top and/or bottom can’t close, the waist can’t close as small as it should either, and it ends up putting more pressure than necessary on your ribs, which can be very uncomfortable. Try a custom or made to measure and you’ll not only see the back fat gone (which we ALL get when it doesn’t fit) but a much curvier shape 🙂

  5. janice says:

    will wearing a corset help lose a little of protruding belly fat on my waist? and how often should i wear them?

    • Ava Strange says:

      A corset in itself won’t do much for belly fat except flatten it when you wear it. But it will encourage healthier eating habits, and give you motivation through looking great. Wear one only as often as you feel comfortable. You’ll often find that amount of time will gradually increase until it’s part of your daily or near-daily wear.

  6. lindsay. says:

    I recently bought a few corsets just for something different to wear out or around, (not really looking to tightlace or anything), but I am losing weight and I am concerned that my corsets won’t fit! I was almost a 27” when I bought them (I bought 22” corsets) and now I am almost a 25” out of nowhere! The website I bought them from says a 20” is best for 25” waists so I am concerned that if I lose a few more inches my corsets won’t fit as well or look as good since I spent so much money on them!

    • Ava Strange says:

      This is very common, and why a lot of people wait until they are closer to their ideal weight before buying a corset. You can still however re-sell your old corsets to girls who fit them better and use the money towards buying smaller ones. I have sold a few of my off the rack corsets to friends in order to upgrade to custom, and I find it especially helpful for these girls wary of buying online, so they have the opportunity to see them in person and try them on before buying from you.

      • lindsay. says:

        Thanks for the info! I wasn’t really planning or trying to lose weight, I just stopped a medication that I realized has been making me sick for years, hopefully the corsets will still fit if my size keeps going down.

  7. Shelby says:

    I just started wearing my corset yesterday and I read on another website to use the “two rule”, two hour intervals twice a day for two weeks will give a 2 in. reduction. I am 17 (parents approve of it) I’m not looking to have 20 in waist as this would be strange on me because I have a larger bone structure. My waist measurement now is 38 in but I’ve always had a great hourglass figure. I’m trying to define it a bit more but not drastic. I was wondering if the “two rule” was an accurate way to slim my waist a tad or not. Thanks.

    • Ava Strange says:

      The rule of two is more about breaking the corset in so you don’t put too much stress on it too soon than it is about waist training. Two inches is actually a very realistic amount for even the very first time you put it on so you likely won’t have to train at all to get that far. For waist training further it’s so hard to give numbers and time frames because people’s bodies will have different tolerance levels, at different speeds, and different aesthetics (and tastes) as you most definitely understand. Doing the cycle method and being zen is the best advice I have. Wear it for as often as you want to at the level of tightness preferable to you, and if you love it you will wear it enough to reduce without even trying. When you decide that you have achieved a reduction you like and want to keep, from there you don’t have to keep tightening it any smaller or wear the corset as often. Your body will tell you exactly what to do 🙂

  8. alicia says:

    If I start the corset training is there a way the effect can be permanent and is it possible I can get a bigger butt wearing the corset. And also can it train my body to make the food go straight to my behind? ?

    • Ava Strange says:

      I’ll be addressing permanent waist reduction in another article, but basically no. And there’s absolutely no way you could get a bigger butt. Your stomach will remain in your torso, and it’s impossible to make food go to any other body part because that’s how the digestive system works. Furthermore, the location of fat deposits on your body is entirely genetic. I suppose it can create the illusion of a bigger butt based on the smaller size of your waist. If you really want a bigger butt I suggest working out your glutes (butt muscles) in the gym instead, or even wearing padded underwear.

  9. Rhonda Daniels says:

    I really like your responses to all the questions. I have a few myself that I haven’t seen yet. I am a new wearer and find it difficult to wear my corset, under bust or over bust, while I am driving a vehicle. I also find it difficult to use the ladies room with out undoing my corset. Is there a trick to wearing my corset without unlacing it to accomplish each task? Thank for your help!

    • Ava Strange says:

      Those can be tricky! The reason you find it so difficult is both are quite low seats, and because of this your body wants to bend in a way that the corset doesn’t allow. I don’t have a great solution for driving, I normally just grudgingly put up with it when I’m in a car. Many women do loosen the laces temporarily. I don’t suggest buying a truck or something else high up because that’s clearly a little extreme unless you’re planning to buy one anyway lol.

      When it comes to going to the bathroom I myself haven’t had too many issues sitting, but reaching behind to wipe can be a challenge, so if this is an issue for you I recommend pushing from the front instead of pulling from the back. If sitting itself is a problem all I can really say is maybe hover. I’ve had to do it on many occasions when the toilet in a dive bar is far from anything you want touching your bare skin.

      Either way, an underbust is always going to be easier to move in than an overbust, especially if it’s a cincher or shorter corset, particularly one that’s high on the hip in this case. These are often referred to by corset makers as “sport” corsets, so that might be something to look out for if you’re in the market for a new one. Hope this helps!

      • Rhonda Daniels says:

        It helps tremendously. I will need to adjust to the limitations of using a corset. When I was a teenager my orthopedic doctor told me women didn’t have problems with their backs until they stopped wearing corsets! Yes, I have back problems and the corsets today make it easier for me & my back. My biggest issue now is what kind of clothing is appropriate for a person of my age to wear. I am 55 yrs old, 6′, and size 12. I prefer jeans with my corsets, which may be why I have an issue using the ladies rm. Is there a web site that makes suggestions or sells clothing for the older wearer of corsets? Thanks again!

      • Ava Strange says:

        Have you heard of Pajama Jeans? https://www.pajamajeans.com/ They struck me as a bit silly at first but I’m actually starting to like the idea and I think they might be brilliant in your case. They’re soft stretchy “pajama” pants that look like jeans. Wide leg dress pants might be very nice. I also believe that women of any age look amazing in pencil skirts, and they go with everything as much as jeans do. Do you wear your corsets under your clothing? Do you try to hide them or show them off? What’s your personal style like? I’ll see what else I can find for you.

      • Rhonda Daniels says:

        I wear them out. My husband finds them attractive and sexy on me and I feel that way when I wear them. I had a corset type back brace for years and it was worn under my clothing. I love the corset styles and colors of today. My husband purchased 8 for me with the steel boning. They work wonderfully on my back and I really enjoy the look. Its just that when we go out to dine or to the movies I feel as if they are a little too revealing for my age. I have jackets and light weight sweater type jackets I wear over my corsets. Maybe it a matter of just getting used to the looks I get. I have heard of pajama jeans. We live in the south so I thought they would be too hot to wear here. I will check on the jeans and the pencil dress.
        Thank you so very much!

      • Ava Strange says:

        I don’t think they’re at all inappropriate when you wear them out if the rest of your outfit is classically elegant. I just think people will always stare no matter what because they’re just not used to seeing corsets in general. But a pencil skirt or comfy dress pants with a nice blouse or maybe a jacket, or worn over or under a simple wiggle dress like this http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/erika-dress-in-vintage-rose-with-bolero.html would be so beautiful 🙂

  10. Jemima says:

    Hello, I’m finding it really hard to get a straight answer on how long my corset should be. I am a first-time buyer about 5.5 foot tall, with a 27-inch waist. Someone recommended me a 17-inch long corset, and then someone else told me it would be way too long and I wouldn’t be able to sit down in it. I don’t want it super-long because I feel like it wouldn’t work with jeans etc.. Is there a generally accepted average length for someone of my my height?

    • Ava Strange says:

      What you can do is measure yourself from sternum (where your bra hits in the center front) to pubic bone while standing up straight. This is your ideal length. It can be shorter by a few inches, especially if you have a flat tummy or the corset is designed to sit lower on your ribs, but try not to go longer as this can make it difficult to sit and the corset won’t be as comfortable. I would say 11-13 inches sounds about right, but you need to measure to be sure.

  11. Jemima says:

    Thankyou! that’s very very helpful.

  12. Lana Lawless says:

    I want to buy a fashion back lace corset to wear to the club..the problem is I’m a 40D, 33″ waist, 41 hips at 5-11/187..the corset I want to buy comes in sz 38-40-42-44, I was thinking the 40 because the larger ones the waist and hips are way to big…what do you think…please help…this is the corset I want to buy. I want to wear it tight to show a small waist.

    http://www.wickedtemptations.com/plus-size-skully-corset-146337-prd1.htm

    the sizing chart isn’t very helpful..

    Thank you,
    Lana
    PS: when buying a corset which is the most Important measurement.?

    • Ava Strange says:

      A “fashion corset” is a bustier, not a real corset at all. They’re very weak and won’t pull in your waist at all, and are likely to bend, warp, and fall apart very quickly. If you buy one of these then don’t get one with a waist too large (the measurements you’ve given relate to the waist, and the smallest one is 5 inches too big for you), try to get it to your exact waist size if you can. Keep in mind proportion is important too and you don’t want it too tight or gaping at the bust and hips. Though for that amount of money you can easily get a real corset from http://www.corset-story.com/ They’re infinitely more comfortable and flattering, and will last for years if you treat them right. For a real corset, order 4 inches smaller than your natural waist.

  13. Julia says:

    I’m new to waist training and recently started about a week ago. I purchased a pretty well made (I think) ready-to-wear corset (26 steel bones + at least 4 if not 5 layers of fabric),

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Double-Steel-Boned-Corset-26-steel-bones-Waist-training-Underbust-Bridal-XS-2X-/121083353850?pt=US_Corsets_Bustiers&var=&hash=item1c31215afa

    but it has started to warp. I purchased it 6″ less than my natural waist size. I’ve also worn the corset for much more than the recommended two hours per day to begin, but with about only a 2″ reduction. Also, I’m only 5’0″ tall.

    Could the warping be from wearing the corset for too long to start? Or from being just too long on me? Or both? Can a slight scoliosis cause the corset to warp?

    Thanks.

    • Ava Strange says:

      Wow, this is a tough one! By the description in the link, it looks pretty good – mostly. The thing that concerns me with this is that the sizes are not given in inches but in the S-M-L format you see in other clothes, and a range of 4 inches for each size is very broad. This tips me off that there might be something off about it, likely the bones. I think you might have to examine this corset a bit further though to be sure. Do you know if it has real steel bones – ie. is it fairly heavy? Are the bones hard to bend? Does it look and feel sturdy? The negative feedback the seller got all relates to the corset not being quite as good as advertised. Keep in mind most corset sellers get so much positive feedback because the general population can’t tell the difference.

      I guess the most important question though is how is it warping? I definitely advise you to contact the seller though either way, because no matter what the issue is, a good corset absolutely should not warp. If you keep wearing it then the more it warps the worse it will fit, and the more it will continue to warp and put pressure where it shouldn’t, and create sore or achy areas, even bruising or abrasions. I hope this helps, feel free to reach out again if you need to.

      • Julia says:

        Yes, all the bones are steel. It is a very heavy corset, and I can feel the spiral steel when I run my fingers along the outside of the boning. The rigid bones are along the back (I love this as I tend to slouch, and the “posture-training” is an added bonus). I’m not even sure if this is what is meant by warping,… but the front busk tends to drift to the left on top while the bottom drifts to the right, so that it sits crooked on the front. Could this be from my having ordered the corset a size smaller (small rather than medium) than I should have, and there is too much of a gap in the back (more than two inches… more like between 4 and 6)? I can readjust it, but it tends to move drift back into that position. Could it be too long, and is drifting to accomodate my short torso? Am I not lacing it tight enough? Thanks so much for all your help.

      • Ava Strange says:

        OH, so you mean it’s slanting, not warping. This is very common. In many corsets, especially satin ones, the panels aren’t sewn quite tightly enough together so they tend to slide against each other, resulting in the corset twisting. The fit isn’t the cause of this, but it doesn’t really help. If you have asymmetry it will twist more easily. All you can really do here is try as much as you can to keep it straight and train down slowly so it doesn’t get forced into the twist. If you break it in twisted it will be conditioned to sit this way and it will be much harder to set it right, so you need to have it as straight as possible from the very beginning. It’s not usually a very bad thing though, just annoying.

  14. Julia says:

    Thanks for explaining that slanting/ twisting is not the same as warping. I really wasn’t aware that there was a difference. I’m relieved to know that this is pretty common and not just because I’m doing something wrong.

  15. Emily says:

    My corset is on my prom dress. When I wear it, a crease/line appears in the middle of the corset as though my body goes in at the middle and it doesn’t look very good. Is there a way I can get rid of this crease?

    • Ava Strange says:

      Any “corset” that is part of a dress or gown will typically not be a corset at all, but just a bodice boned with plastic. Plastic is much weaker than steel so it bends with you very easily, and will often stay bent that way. Unfortunately It’s hard to avoid these bodices when it comes to formal wear these days. A real corset underneath should prevent the plastic bones from poking into you, but unless you replace the bones altogether with something much stronger there isn’t really a way to solve it altogether.

  16. casey says:

    Hello! This was a wonderful read, but I have a few questions. Is there an age requirement for tight lacing or waist training? I have heard that it is not advisable for younger women, would it be ok for someone 17 or 18 to start waist training, as long as they do it properly and safely? Thank you

  17. Jade says:

    Hi, I recently purchased a lovely corset that I can lace evenly (I understand its best to have the laced panel completely parallel and not tighter at the top/bottom/middle) however I ordered a wide hipped one and have quite a large gap underneath (around hips) so it will be awkward to wear under clothing. If I continue to wear it around the house/whilst sleeping will it be as effective although its too big on the hips? Obviously the waist and ribs are still clinched nicely. Thanks x

    • Ava Strange says:

      Yes, as long as your waist is comfortably pulled in this will be fine 🙂 The more time spent in the corset the better, and though there’s certainly nothing wrong with wearing it some places and not others, you may be able to maximize your wear by pairing this with a full skirt or swing dress over it, especially with a crinoline, to keep things around the hips looking smooth. The only thing I would really watch out for is how your lower tummy feels. Pressure should be even and if everything is being pushed down with nothing to hold it in underneath this may be uncomfortable and not the best thing for your organs. As long as you feel ok, go for it. If it feels a little uncomfortable you can add a firm girdle, and if it gets beyond that you’ll likely be ready for an upgrade to custom anyway. I hope this helps!

  18. Chuck Holm says:

    Thank you Ava for confirming what I suspected! I have the slant going on with some e-bay corsets for tight lacing , for men, sold by the even inch size. I could find not cause. I have since gotten two from different makers in the same sizes and they have no slant issues. Suspect you nailed it on weak manufacturing and it isn’t a female corset being sold as a mild reduction male corset. We guys defiantly have different natural shapes with a lot less curves.

  19. TaimaChan says:

    Hi there. Youre probably going to be disgusted by this but most of my corsets are from Burlesk (camden market) or ebay. This is an eBay satin steel bone one. My natural waist is 22 inches and this one goes down to 18 but I didnt pull it all the way as I was running around at a convention all day. is it me or is it a bit long for my torso? Also, I still had PLENTY of room i the waist but the opposite sides of my ribcage (below the breastbone) were touching. Seems like all it was doing was pulling my ribs in not my waist so much…. I used the bunny ears technique. Am i going to have to pay up for a custom corset or should i try repositioning it? Or perhaps a fifferent lacing technique? I mean i still love the thing; its gorgeous but doesnt’t hug the figure as much as flaring out sort of at the bottom…
    Many thanks for your help

    • TaimaChan says:

      Also could it be an issue with ‘me’? Is it me not adapting the the shape that corset is trying to deliver? Or the corset not having moulded to me yet? I only wear them once every couple of months for events/going out so whack it on and lace it right down usually.

      • Ava Strange says:

        The issue is definitely not you. No matter how you’re shaped a corset should fit to your body, and it just sounds to me like you’re quite a bit curvier than this particular corset. Steel boned corsets from eBay aren’t necessarily bad at all, I’ve had a few of them myself. But modern off the rack corsets tend to have a very straight shape and it’s common for it to feel like it’s pulling in your ribs instead of your waist.

        While a custom corset is usually the best route, it should rarely be completely necessary, especially if you’re not looking to wear it very often. On the high end there are corsets like the Morticia from What Katie Did http://www.whatkatiedid.com/product/532/underbust_corset My very first corset was an off the rack model from Vollers which was quite curvy with a waist reduction of 6″. And Jupiter Moon 3 offers ready-made corsets in her Etsy shop with a standard of 5 inches of reduction. I have one and find it extremely comfortable, and it was super affordable!

        What it really comes down to is that the modern silhouette, though they claim they can reduce 4 inches, are typically more like 2-4. If you try narrowing your search to corsets that offer a reduction of 5-6 inches you’ll find they’re much more shapely and comfortable, and while the search is a bit more challenging they don’t have to be any more expensive 🙂 Lucy’s Corsetry is amazing for her lists of corsets with all sorts of criteria, and I think this http://lucycorsetry.com/research-corset-brands/guided-galleries/curvy-cinchers-under-200/ will be a great place to start. I hope this helped!

  20. barbara says:

    Bout waist trainer too big. How can i make it smaller. Need to drop a size or two on it. Cause i can’t return.

    • Ava Strange says:

      Are you saying your corset is too big? Unfortunately unless you’re a corset-maker yourself there is no way to make it smaller. You will need to buy a new one. Keep in mind also that proper corset sizing is never offered in S/M/L. Items sized this way are little more than costume pieces. A corset should be sized by the number of inches around at the waist, and unless you have trained down further should be ordered 4 inches smaller than your natural waist size.

  21. Asra says:

    I am between corset sizes. I have a 29″ natural waist (most of that is rib, I’m fairly fit) and the M sizes are 26-29″ and the L is 29-31.” I am not sure which size I should buy. Can you help me out?

    • Ava Strange says:

      Corsets should not be sized S-M-L but in inches around the waist. Not a range either, but one specific measurement. A standard sized corset should measure 4 inches less around the waist than your natural measurement, so the right corset for you should be 25 inches.

  22. Tori J. says:

    I am already naturally curvy. What kind of corset should I purchase so that the bonning does not dig in my back? The ones being sold now (more flexible *made in columbia*) fabric cinchers tend to bunch up on my back. Any advise?

    • Ava Strange says:

      It sounds like the corset is too short. The boning in a longer one would lie over your hips instead of digging in. Also make sure that what you’re buying is made of steel and not plastic, because this is infinitely better for keeping its shape and not bending at odd angles and bunching up. For off the rack corsets, Corset Story is great because they list the length of each of their styles. Also make sure that the bottom measurement isn’t too tight, and you should be fine 🙂

  23. Clodagh says:

    I recently bought a steeled bones overbust corset from lovehoney, didn’t want to spend too much on my first try! I did all the measurements and bought a 22. I have recently put on weight, not much but it seems I either have back fat when I tighten or its too loose in the bust when I loosen it. Is there anything I can do to solve this? Thanks.

    • Ava Strange says:

      Hmm. Well you can’t really change the proportions of a corset, but the easiest way to wear it in this case might be to stuff the bust to fill it out rather than making it too tight. I suggest measuring the bust and underbust of the corset against your own, as proportion in corsets does matter, especially for overbusts. Orchard Corset has a huge selection of affordable off the rack corsets in varying proportions for different body types, so they’d definitely be worth a look too 🙂

  24. jenna says:

    Hi. I’ve made my own wedding dress with a corset top. I am new to this and didn’t take back fat in to consideration. So now I have back boobs. It’s too late to re make I’m getting married just after Xmas. Is there anything you can suggest to help. I have been told that lacing “properly” can reduce this but no one can tell me exactly what that means. I currently lace as per your image above. Thanks for any suggestions. Xx

    • Ava Strange says:

      The top measurement of the dress is probably too small, and this can be helped just by lacing it looser towards the top. This will likely result in a V-shape at the back, which can be very pretty and elegant in a dress 🙂

  25. Jackie says:

    Can steel boned corset bruised you when is on tight, i usually wear it under a tight top. Also why is it that i get a muffin top is it because is too small or tight please help.Oh and what can i do about the bruising? Thank You

    • Ava Strange says:

      Yes, a corset can cause bruising when it’s too tight. Many days after an even when I’ve laced especially tightly, my ribs have felt bruised, though there was nothing visible. You’re also right that a muffin top can be caused by a corset being too tight, too. The only real solution to either of these is to lace more loosely, or wear a slightly bigger corset.

  26. Veronica Sevier says:

    I wear a long waisted corset that goes down below my waist to my hips. I love wearing it as it fits so beautifully. My only problem I have while I am wearing it is that my panties don’t stay up. They just keep sliding down and I am always pulling them back up just to have them slide down again. I feel like they are going to completely fall off of me. Is there a solution to this problem? I appreciate your help with this, thanks.

    • Ava Strange says:

      A very common problem. If you wear your corset under your clothes, a common solution is to wear your underwear over the corset instead of under. Otherwise, you may have to look for underwear (and often pants) in a different cut.

      • Veronica Sevier says:

        I forgot to mention but I do wear my panties over my corset. Do I need a smaller size of panties?

  27. Veronica Sevier says:

    I bought a new corset a few weeks ago and I am always having the garter straps coming undone from the garter loops/tabs on the corset. They aren’t coming loose from my nylon stockings. This happens on all 4 of the garter loops. Especially the ones in the back as they some times come undone 5 or 6 times a day. Am I wearing the garter straps too tight or too loose? Or what? What are your ideas? I appreciate you helping me with my problem here. Thanks.

  28. joy says:

    Why do my corset bones, the flat steel ones in the back dig into my butt. The corset used to be soo comfortable before, then one day I am able to lace tighter and the bones are digging into my butt so hard I want to cry.

  29. Marton Sebestyen says:

    Dear Ava,

    I wonder whether there is an added benefit to corsetry and tight lacing…namely does it constrict the diameter of the vaginal wall? Would the tightness be noticeable?

  30. JAn says:

    HI, I am a beginner corset-er and I’m having an issue where whenever I buy a corset it is always to big for my upper body. I don’t know whats wrong and I need help

    • Ava Strange says:

      This issue arises when your body proportions don’t match the proportions of the corset. I suggest looking on Orchard Corset because they offer a variety of proportions and clearly indicate all the corset measurements, not just the waist.

  31. Annabel says:

    Hi, I have just started waist training with an Orchard Corset CS411 underbust. I am a week into seasoning it but there are still large gaps at the top even though it has molded perfectly to my hips. My measurements are UB 28.5 W28 H35 and I bought the corset in a 22. I think the problem is that I have a very straight torso. I still have a few inches lacing gap but I don’t want to pull it any tighter at the top because it already feels quite constricting around my ribs, it’s just the ‘access fabric’ at the top that is causing problems. Do you have any ideas as to how I can disguise gapping or do you think it will lessen with more seasoning? Thanks

  32. Nina says:

    I just bought a really nice black under bust corset, that looks very similar to the one in your last picture. I am having a hard time getting used to wearing it. I feel comfortable (kind of), when I stand. Once I try sitting down, it’s all down hill. I can’t wait to take it off. I have been trying to ease into waist training by not lacing it too tight, but I still experience a lot of discomfort. Please tell me that this is just a phase and it will get better?! Is it common to be very uncomfortable when sitting? Do you have any tips to increase my comfort?

    • Ava Strange says:

      Hi Nina 🙂 It’s absolutely normal (and expected!) that you will need to ease into corset-wearing for it to be comfortable. As little as 20 minutes at a time is perfectly normal for beginners. My whole first week wearing a corset really sucked, but just be persistent and you’ll get there. It’s also normal that sitting is less comfortable than standing. If you find yourself extremely uncomfortable though it may be worth checking a few measurements. If it’s too long the bottom can dig into your thighs etc. Sitting is made more comfortable by sitting in a higher chair, or even “perching” more than sitting, just leaning your butt against a support.

  33. Abbey says:

    I have been using these for awhile & as I’m going to smaller sizes the corsets dig into my lower back. This makes it unbearable to wear. I was wondering if there is something that can remedy this problem?

  34. Olivia says:

    If I wear my corset for 9 hours a day and lace it so my waist is 5in smaller can I take it off for the remainder of the day and still have a 3in waist reduction (after 3 – 5 weeks of cosetry)? Would doing this consistently and not lacing any tighter keep me from getting to extreme curve level or would my waist continue to shrink? I’m 27in around my waist currently and my goal is hopefully a 24in waist without the corset on.

  35. Veronica says:

    I bought a new corset several months back. Every couple of months I have one of the garter tabs tear off of the corset and I have to get it repaired. Is there something that I am doing wrong to cause this? Is there something that I can do to prevent this from happening in the future? This is starting to get to be expensive getting it repaired every couple of months. Please help me with this.
    Thanks – Veronica

  36. Jessica says:

    Hello!
    I have been a seamstress for many years and was excited to try waist training out. I made my own first corset under the supervision of a talented coresettiere friend of mine. I didn’t pay attention to the seasoning instructions because I was so stoked to get started and see results so I wore the corset as tightly as I could for as long as I could from the get go. Now my two back (the last channels right up against the lacing) heavy steel bones angle inward and stab my back very painfully, its impossible to wear for long. I made a second corset and seasoned it properly and it fits beautifully and without issue, but I was wondering if there was any way to save/repair my first corset. My friend said I might be able to remove the warped bones, soak the fabric and then replace the warped steel bones with new ones after the fabric dried. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet but I was wondering if you’d ever had this occur and if you had any advice.

    Thank you!

    • Ava Strange says:

      Omg, WORD. I have done this, with the same results. It takes a ton of discipline and patience not to do that and it’s something I struggle with with every new corset I get. I have ruined gorgeous pieces this way, so I really feel you on this. Your friend’s advice sounds perfect. And please let me know if this works so I can do it too!

  37. Charlotte says:

    I am 5’ 1 ½“ and my measurements are bust 36”, waist 30”, hips 38”. I tried to buy two overbust corsets from Corset Story, but was highly disappointed when they arrived because the waist fit fine but the bust and hips were cartoonishly huge! I am not looking to waist train; I just want a sturdy, decently-made corset to wear for costume purposes. How can I tell a corset from an online dealer will fit me?

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